When the kids were really young, I tried an idea from a magazine that has become an Easter family tradition. My husband Dale and our little budding builder built a 2-foot cross and mounted it on a stand. They screwed 4 hooks onto it–one near the top, one close to each end of the cross-piece, and one lower down.
I looked for a box and lid that we could use for a tomb, and chose a round hat box. Just for fun, I dabbed shades of grey paint on it…Ta-da! A tomb, carved out of rock…
Each year, in the weeks (or days) before Easter, the children chose 2-4 Scripture verses to memorize, which they wrote out on cards and hung on the hooks of the cross. They were encouraged to read the verses often, and/or to remove them whenever they wanted to go over them. Years ago, I would hear my daughter at the piano, making up a song that might help her to remember a particular verse…
On the eve of Good Friday, the “Word” comes down off the cross and is placed in the tomb beside it. (That is, the cards with the verses on them are removed from the cross and placed in the tomb.) The tomb is “sealed” with the box lid. And here’s where the creativity ramps up: the kids get to complete the scene by adding whichever of their toys they’d like. Over the years, we’ve had various guest stars playing the role of the notorious tomb guards: wooden railroad conductors, Lego Star Wars mini-figs, fierce Bionicles, and the very latest? My daughter’s crazy Teddy-Nerf-Miscellaneous-Robotic-Toy additions, whose adorable looks could not disguise the intimidating air that would keep the disciples from stealing the “Word” away…
On Easter morning, the kids awake to a new scene: the guards, unconscious, and “as dead men,” sprawled convincingly in ways limited only by a parent’s humour and imagination…
Sometime that day, in exchange for sharing their verses aloud, the kids get clues revealing the whereabouts of hidden Easter gifts…
Last year, we didn’t get to this tradition, and I thought the kids would be too old to care. Oops.
What I loved about resurrecting it all this year was reading the verses they picked for themselves, and seeing so clearly how we all can find relevant verses in Scripture that speak directly to where we are in life–no matter who or how old we are!…AND knowing from experience how God can use their memorization to bring His Word into their minds and hearts when they need it most…
Here’s one I’m choosing to memorize for this month…You can hold me to it!
GOD, the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel:
“Your salvation requires you to turn back to me
and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves.
Your strength will come from settling down
in complete dependence on me.”
Isaiah 30:15 , The Message
Your turn! Join the April Scripture Memory Challenge–even if you’re not on a Westheights Kids Team…It’s never too late! As a way of nudging each other on, post your verse, or verses, in the Comment Section below. Include your name (if you’d like) your verse, the reference and translation. (See the format I used above.) Post a single verse, one a month, or more! Participation is the goal…. For more info on the what and why of this adventure, click here.
Charlene Neuman (April 15, 2013)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
Here’s the passage I’m working on …
Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.
Those who desert him will perish,
for you destroy those who abandon you.
But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.
Psalm 73:23-28 (New Living Translation)